Birds on Oregon Coast Now: Hummingbirds, Murres, Puffins
(Oregon Coast) – Oregon wildlife officials say now is a good time to look out for Tufted Puffins along the Oregon coast, as well as hummingbirds and common murres. (Tufted Puffin photo by Seaside Aquarium)
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) recently sent out a bulletin about various birds on the coast, saying Tufted Puffins are entering their more visible period, which is generally April through late August. You'll see them on offshore rocks around the Oregon coast.
“Tufted Puffins sport a colorful bill and in the breeding season with two long, blond plumes at the end of a facial mask,” ODFW said. “These chunky black birds arrive every spring to breed on the coastal islands of Oregon that make up Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge.”
Good places to spot them will be at mainland viewing platforms around Cape Meares, Yaquina Head at Newport, Cannon Beach's Ecola State Park (which actually devotes much of the month to the puffin). On the southern Oregon coast you can find these at Coquille Point in Bandon, Heceta Head State Scenic Viewpoint near Florence, and Harris Beach State Park.
“Tufted puffins only come ashore to breed and raise their young,” ODFW said. “For the remainder of the year they live, feed, and sleep on the open ocean. Puffins arrive, along with thousands of other seabirds, to the coastal rocks of the refuge during the first week in April.
You can start seeing lots of Common Murres about now as well, with thousands gather together to re-establish pair bonds and find nesting sites. Between 8,000 and 9,000 murres gather around Yaquina Head most years. They can also be seen at Three Arch Rocks by Oceanside, Cape Meares and Heceta Head, and sometimes the Depoe Bay area.
Hummingbirds should be a regular sight in some of the more forested areas of the Oregon coast, including Anna's Hummingbirds and the Rufous hummingbird. The rufous nests further north than any other hummingbird.
Most Rufous hummingbirds winter in wooded areas in the Mexico state of Guerrero. They travel more than 2,000 miles – a prodigious journey for a bird weighing only three or four grams. They often stay in one spot for considerable time and often aggressively take over and defend feeding locations.
The pink salmonberry blossoms are opening now, providing a food source for the earliest spring migrant bird to the coast, the Rufous hummingbird.
Allen's Hummingbird is common in the southern Oregon coast.
Sea Lions on Oceanside's Three Arch Rocks
Bird colonies near Florence
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